Amazon.com stopped hosting WikiLeaks from its Web servers following pressure from members of Congress, prompting the controversial group to move its website to a European provider.
WikiLeaks said in a Twitter message it had been “ousted” by the Seattle online retailer, which also sells Web services and online storage.
In its message, WikiLeaks said its money is “now spent to employ people in Europe.” The group later added: “if Amazon are so uncomfortable with the first amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books.”
WikiLeaks recently released a trove of sensitive U.S. State Department documents and turned to Amazon’s Web services after it claimed its servers in Sweden were hit by computer attacks.
Staff from Sen. Joe Lieberman’s office contacted Amazon Tuesday asking why the company was providing Web hosting services for WikiLeaks. On Wednesday, Amazon informed the senator’s staff it would sever its ties with the organization.
Leslie Phillips, a spokeswoman for Sen. Lieberman, said Amazon told her office that WikiLeaks had violated its terms of service, but didn’t specify which ones. “There are no contractual obligations,” she said.
Amazon and WikiLeaks didn’t respond to requests for comment.
“I wish that Amazon had taken this action earlier based on Wikileaks’ previous publication of classified material,” Mr. Lieberman said in a statement, adding that “the company’s decision to cut off Wikileaks now is the right decision and should set the standard for other companies.”
Kevin Bankston, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation said Amazon’s move wasn’t a First Amendment issue. “It is disappointing that Amazon would decline to publish something that under American law it has the right to publish, but in the end that is Amazon’s decision,” he said. “What would be wrong is if the government pressured them to take it down through the threat of actual legal proceedings.”